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Kuwait alarmed by Iraqi failure to pay reparations

Iraq's recent efforts to avoid paying Kuwait some $25 billion in UN-mandated reparations for Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion have alarmed Kuwaitis and strained relations that have slowly improved since the fall of the Iraqi dictator.

  • AP
  • Published: 12:00 August 1, 2009
  • Gulf News

Kuwait City: Iraq's recent efforts to avoid paying Kuwait some $25 billion in UN-mandated reparations for Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion have alarmed Kuwaitis and strained relations that have slowly improved since the fall of the Iraqi dictator.

Many Kuwaitis doubt Iraq will make good on its obligations without outside pressure, and the country has sent envoys to both Washington and the UN in recent months to seek help.

"Iraq will not cooperate if things are left to bilateral ties," said Fayez Al Enezi, a member of a search team tasked with finding hundreds of Kuwaitis who went missing during the Iraqi occupation.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has waged his own offensive, pressing key UN members during a visit to the US in late July to drop all binding resolutions against his country stemming from Saddam's seven-month occupation of Kuwait.

President Barack Obama has expressed support for lifting UN sanctions, among them a requirement that Iraq pay 5 per cent of its oil revenues to Kuwait as reparations. However, he said Iraq's UN status should only be changed after the country resolves disputes with its neighbours - something Kuwaitis have been seeking for almost two decades.

The UN has approved $52.4 billion in compensation for individuals, companies and organisations, most of them Kuwaiti, that incurred losses in the war that followed Saddam's invasion. Around $27 billion has already been paid out from Iraqi oil revenues, leaving an outstanding balance of about $25.4 billion.

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